Objective: To investigate whether having a usual source of care (USOC) resulted in lower depression prevalence among the elderly.
Data sources: The 2001-2003 Medicare Current Beneficiaries Survey and 2002 Area Resource File.
Study design: Twenty thousand four hundred and fifty-five community-dwelling person-years were identified for respondents aged 65+, covered by both Medicare Parts A and B in Medicare fee-for-service for a full year. USOC was defined by the question "Is there a particular medical person or a clinic you usually go to when you are sick or for advice about your health?" Ambulatory care use (ACU) was defined by having at least one physician office visit and/or hospital outpatient visit using Medicare claims. Depression was identified by a two-item screen (sadness and/or anhedonia). All measures were for the past 12 months. A simultaneous-equations (trivariate probit) model was estimated, adjusted for sampling weights and study design effects.
Principal findings: Based on the simultaneous-equations model, USOC is associated with 3.8 percent lower probability of having depression symptoms (p=.03). Also, it had a positive effect on having any ACU (p<.001). Having any ACU had no statistically significant effect on depression (p=.96).
Conclusions: USOC was associated with lower depression prevalence and higher realized access (ACU) among community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries.
© Health Research and Educational Trust.